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Leslie Jordan's gospel album is a hoedown so fabulous that even Dolly Parton shows up

James Reed, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

To the 5.7 million of us who lap up Leslie Jordan's Instagram musings, it'll come as a shock that he doesn't care for one of his most endearing traits.

"I don't like my voice. At all. Because I've got that accent, you know? And I'm not talking about my Southern accent," he says. "If you had any doubt about me, when I open my mouth 50 yards of purple chiffon come out.

"But when I'm singing a hymn, I sound kind of butch."

That's right. Leslie Jordan — an actor beloved for his work on TV shows "Will & Grace" and "American Horror Story" — is now singing hymns and old-time country gospel. He's even recorded an album that captures the heart and sass that made him such a viral social media star last year with his colorful vignettes about life in lockdown.

Released April 2, "Company's Comin'" is as star-studded as his Instagram dispatches. Dolly Parton, Brandi Carlile, Eddie Vedder, Tanya Tucker, Chris and Morgane Stapleton and newly out country artist T.J. Osborne of Brothers Osborne make cameos without snatching the spotlight from Jordan. (Like that's even possible.)

Longtime fans already knew Jordan could do a fierce drag impersonation of country queen Tammy Wynette, but now he is stepping out as a singer. Let's be frank: He won't be forcing Adele into early retirement. His vocals, while warm and engaging, aren't the point of his new album.

 

The down-home joy and communal revelry of his performances are a balm for these frayed times. Jordan, who's riding high this year with a new sitcom ("Call Me Kat") and forthcoming book ("How Y'All Doing?"), also reconciles his fraught relationship with songs he first sang in church as a closeted gay boy growing up Baptist in East Tennessee.

Jordan, 65, recently checked in with the LA Times over Zoom to dish on Dolly and reveal which duet partner was so good that he refused to sing with him.

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Q: This doesn't feel like an album. It sounds like stumbling upon someone's big house party.

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